Saturday, 22 April 2017

Big Dig success on 22 April 2017

The Big Dig day arrived and our core volunteers wondered if other park users would join us in planting edibles in the herb bed.  The Big Dig is an annual event organised by Capital Growth with over 40 community spaces in London taking part:   
Poster for our event.
Our group met at the herb bed, part of Capital Growth community garden 797.  Within minutes a new volunteer arrived.
Before long more new volunteers joined us, including children aged between 3 and 5.We set up our table with sign-in sheet along with all the plants and seed packets.
Our table with pots and leaflets and sign-in sheet
Our main focus today was the herb bed, which had been weeded by Nature's Gym volunteers just over two weeks ago. Since then the bindweed contained in this plant bed has regrown so we had to be careful to pull out as much as we could.

We had a plant pot containing a lavender plant, another pot with sage cuttings, 20 mini hand-made paper pots with young broad bean plants, some potato tubers (Alouette variety) which had been chitted, a plant pot with evening primrose and Welsh poppy. The seed packets contained nigella, marigold, Mexican marigold, sunflower seeds and more.
The first task for Mike and Robert was to dig a trench for our 6 potato tubers and to plant 20 broad beans (variety Aquadulce Claudia).
We used some our own home-made compost in the trench and the bean holes. Robert dug the trench.

Potato variety Alouette 

Potatoes in trench on a bed of compost

Sandra raked soil over the potatoes.
Mike cleared an area for planting the broad beans and the photo below shows  the finished result:


Kareem planted the evening primrose and Welsh poppy (no photo though) before moving on to the fruit bed and weeding around the raspberry canes.
Our banner was unfurled on the ground and two of our younger helpers wanted to pose for a photo by standing on the corners.

Two young helpers posed for a photo on our banner
Christopher and his mum Emily (no photo, blame the photographer!) worked very hard digging up as much bindweed as they could. Christopher was very good at spotting the bindweed and its roots. They sowed a variety of different seeds including marigolds and Nigella. They made a number of journeys to the toilets by the cafe to fetch water in plastic bottles and water the area. Meanwhile another young helper arrived and he joined in the watering.
Two dads and two boys went to the mini wildflower meadow to sow packs of wild flower seeds and had fun watering them in. (Again no photos. Maybe one of the dads has some?)
After two hours with a mix of hard work and and social chat with other volunteers it was time to pack up. Look for the herb bed and all the things that were planted. We had a lovely morning and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  I hope some of our young helpers will remember to bring watering cans or plastic bottles to water the plants they sowed or planted.

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